Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hallmark Transforming "Mirror Mirror" Comic Into Family Movie "The Hunters"

And it's getting a few known names attached along the way. Joshua Williamson's graphic novel "Mirror Mirror" (released Nov 2010) is essentially a mash-up of Snow White, Indiana Jones and Warehouse 13. With kids. (So much fun!)

Mirror Mirror 1
Read the pages below on the left in order for a little taste of the graphic novel, this section featuring Red Riding Hood tale motifs, showing how it ties into modern day and the real world.
Hallmark Released Synopsis:Carter and Jordyn Flynn (Payne, Forbes) aren't the average mom and dad. For them, a typical workday can take place anywhere in the world, raiding ornate museums and evading pursuing authorities as Hunters, protectors of powerful fairy tale artifacts that are anything but make believe. (Edit FTNH: Definitely sounds like a special annex of Warehouse 13!) 
While they take their jobs seriously, they're just as concerned about the welfare of their two sons, 21-year old Paxton (Amell) and 16-year old Tripp (Tracey), who are unaware of their parents' true line of work. 
When Carter and Jordyn disappear during one of their missions, the boys learn the truth about their parents and their lineage. They turn to old family friend Mason (Garber) for help but they soon discover that the deceitful Mason is after what the Flynns were trying to protect - an enchanted mirror that has the ability to grant any wish. It's got quite a history, too: It's the same mirror that played a pivotal role in the destiny of Snow White. It becomes evident that it's up to the valiant brothers and Dylan to save the day before very real fairy tale magic falls into Mason's less-than-worthy hands. (Source) 

Cont... Mirror Mirror 2
For those not familiar with Joshua Williamson's Mirror Mirror, here's an excerpt from an interview with the author by Comic Vine just before the graphic novel was released.

Joshua Williamson:   Mirror, Mirror is about the magic mirror from the Snow White fairy tale. In our story Snow White destroyed the magic mirror and scattered its pieces across the globe to keep it from ever being rebuilt. She then created a group called the Huntsmen to protect the pieces from evil.   
(Edit FTNH: Also shades of Snow Queen here - a shattered evil mirror with pieces scattered over the globe..)
Now in present day a young man named Owen Grimm is the newest Huntsman and is trying to stop a wicked Prince from putting the evil mirror back together and using it to rule the world. 
As to why someone should pick it up… If you’re looking a family friendly adventure story that is fun for everyone you should pick this up. If you like the Indiana Jones films or National Treasure, this book is for you.  
CV: Where did you get the idea from? Do you often think about twists to old fairy tales?  
Cont... Mirror Mirror 3
JW:  This idea sprang from me wanting to do an adventure book, something with someone searching for something. Crazy vague, I know. The thing is what is out that hasn’t already been found? 
One story that has always bugged me was Snow White. We get this nice happy ending where Prince Charming rides off with Snow White in his arms and the evil old Step Mother is dead. But what happened to that evil Mirror? It was manipulative and has insane powers, and could be argued was the real bad guy of the story. One day I just put two and two together and thought “what if Snow White destroyed the mirror?”   
A line of dialogue that never made it into the script was of Snow White saying “Mirror, Mirror on the wall… do you know what I’m going to do with this?” while she was holding a giant sledge hammer. I’m pretty sure that was the first line of dialogue I wrote but it just never made it in the actual finished script. It was just the germ of an idea that lead to the whole book. 
Yeah, I’m always thinking of twists on classic fairy tales, but not just fairy tales… myths, legends, fables, you name it. 
CV: What makes this take on Snow White and the Magic Mirror different from the stories told in Vertigo's FABLES?  
Cont... Mirror Mirror 4
JW: F or starters we never actually see Snow White in this story except for in a few panels in flashback. I love Vertigo’s Fables, but I still wanted to make sure that we stayed far away from what they’ve done. We don’t have any actual live fables or other characters running around. There are ties to the stories, but a big part of the book is that all those fairy tales and myths came from some kind of truth and we explore that truth. For example, the big bad wolf, Bigby, in Fables is a shape shifter and sheriff, while in Mirror, Mirror, the big bad wolf is actually based off real life serial killer Peter Stumpp. 
This is more like the Indiana Jones films where it’s very grounded in reality with hints of supernatural building until it’s unleashed. (Source) 
I've been impressed in the past with Hallmark's handling of fairy tale movies (eg Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen). Some of their made-for-TV fairy tale movies have had better quality storytelling and visuals than the big blockbusters and kept the fairy tale base solid, so while I still think of Hallmark in a "less-than" manner initially, perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised by this too (fingers crossed!).

What I'm really hoping for is some well balanced but also meaty family entertainment with that mystery/adventure element middle graders seem to love, that delves into different tale details for clues on how to continue the adventure. While Once Upon A Time is generally family friendly it's more soap and less adventure (and has no resolution) than popular family films and series tend to be so perhaps this will bridge the gap.

Argo actor Victor Garber and The Killing's Michelle Forbes are set to star in the Hallmark Channel original movie The Hunters, which is scheduled to premiere October 25Based on Mirror, Mirror, a comic book by Joshua Williamson, the film will be a part of Walden Family Theater, a new series of family movies to air on Friday nights. (Source) 

With the Fables movie quietly gaining momentum (*fistpump!*), this would be an excellent "fairy tales in the modern world" introduction to kids who aren't ready for something so adult but still want something a little Warehouse 13.

The comic looks like a lot of fun and with the right creative team a family movie could be too. (You can see a little more of the pages from Mirror Mirror HERE after the main article and there are a few more pages HERE too.)

If you'd like to grab one of your own, you can find copies of Mirror Mirror available HERE. It's also available for Kindle.

Sources: Hollywood Reporter, TVBroadwayWorld, ComicVine, ComicBookResources

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